Annual Report of the CAcert Inc. 2016/2017
From the Committee of CAcert Inc.
Hereby, the Committee of CAcert Inc. presents its executive report to the members of the Association, and by extension, to the entire Community of CAcert. This report is over the customary period of 1st July 2016 to 30th June 2017.
In addition to that defined period, the Committee presents a Forward Looking Statement that covers 1st July 2017 and beyond. Note also that Team Reports are not so constrained by fixed periods.
The terms committee and board are used interchangeably. The terms CAcert Inc. and the Association are used interchangeably. The term Member means a member of the Community under the CCA where unqualified, and a member of the Association or the committee where qualified. Governance Statement
CAcert Inc. is incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act, 2009 of NSW, Australia. The members of the Association are our registered participants in the governance of our wider Community. Total Association membership at 30th June 2017 was 60. As of time of writing, association membership stands 60. The wider Community outside the association currently numbers some 6,500 Assurers, around 31,500 end-users with some assurances, and about 284,000 accounts with zero assurance.
CAcert Inc. has no employees – we rely fully on a cadre of volunteers to carry out all functions.
CAcert Inc. operates under the rules of the Association, as adopted by the Association members, November 2011. In addition, CAcert Inc also binds itself by means of the CAcert Community Agreement and prior decisions at AGM and Committee to the policies of the community. Under these combined rules, the affairs of CAcert Inc. are managed by the Committee.
The Committee is elected each year at the annual general meeting. The Committee comprises the president, the vice-president, treasurer, secretary and three ordinary members. The Committee also forms a sub-committee under the rules, and incorporates the sub-committee into deliberations. The Committee meets on the Internet once or twice per month. Meetings are generally open, minuted on the wiki, and publically readable.
The Committee's primary role is to manage the services and teams of the Community. The Committee is assisted by 2 other main groups, being the Arbitration Forum for the resolution of disputes and the policy group for the creation and approval of formal policies. The Committee directly manages the many teams of CAcert, each of which work within the policy framework of CAcert, document their activities and processes on the wiki, report to the Committee, and abide by rulings of the Arbitration Forum.
The outgoing Committee provides the annual report to members at the annual general meeting. The annual report includes a financial report, team reports, a summary of the year's events and a forward looking statement to assist the incoming Committee.
In response to two factors (being, moves by the CA industry, and accusations in the previous year impacted over future auditors), the board took on a far-reaching reconsideration of the primary mission of CAcert, being in short to 'get into the browsers.' This should be an important goal but not dominate everything else. The CA industry has now imposed multiple audits on the process, and browser vendors (Mozilla and others) have followed suit without any apparent question as to the costs and competitive nature of the process. The increased costs in the process are perhaps doubling and tripling that which we have faced in the past. As it was already in our minds that the cost of even one audit was unreachable, we are now faced with a dramatic challenge to the mission. There are yet rumours a sponsor could be found. This has far-reaching implications. In order to address this, the committee discussed some ways to better utilise the community to get the root into the browsers on a manual basis, including browser plugins and contract changes to facilitate member-empowerment. Before we can get external audits, we need to have internal audits. Some areas of CAcert are ready for audit or have already passed an audit, in other areas essential work has to be done to be auditable.
Location of CAcert
CAcert Inc is incorporated in Australia, the original location of its founding as a community. However it has been for many years clear that the centre of members and activity for the community is located in Western Europe, mainly in Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. France becomes more important too. Efforts to enhance the Australian base have worked partially, here Ian did an excellent work. But since Ian is no longer in Australia, the situation is very deplorable. It is therefore our emerging view that we need to move CAcert's intellectual property and management vehicle to Europe, in order to better align with the strength of the community.
The Committee's Forward-Looking Statement
The Committee has to face one giant challenge, that is to move CAcert from the present Australian CAcert Inc. to an European incorporated association or similar form of organisation to save an enormus amount of bank transfer costs and to be closer to the bigger european community to save travel costs in future.
There were no new Arbitrators, Support Members or Software Assessors appointed. Within FY 2016/2017 one case member was assigned, but resigned later. One ABC for support was triggered, but is not yet decided.
All in all we need more Arbitrators, Case Managers, Software Assessors and Support Members.
Some members are very busy with other tasks and partially are no longer active or resigned from their. During spring 2016 some support members, software assessors, arbitrators and case managers resigned around or after the SGM took place.
Remaining members are under heavy load within their jobs within the CAcert community, so some there is some delay in fulfilling their jobs.
Board members have to fill vacant officer positions with valuable CAcert community members.
This first part of the board report is written by a member from the former committee. In summer 2016 board some arbitration cases were withdrawn by CAcert Inc., some older motions were overturned by the committee. Together with accepting resignations from CAcert Inc. members and Officers this could be seen as a cleanup after the issues the CAcert Community and CAcert Inc. faced in the FY before.
In the following weeks we had to sort out to fill vacant positions (like DRO) but without much success. This caused much more load on committee (members) as we had to keep track of issues, teams etc.
At the AGM some committe members decided not to stay in board any longer (due to personal/private assignments etc.), so some new members joined the committee with new enthusiasm.(As)
This second part of the board report treats the time frame AGM to end of CAcert year. I write it from my memory, so it is more about the feeling and general directions. For the details, I refer to the agendas and minutes of the numerous meetings.
The committee that taked over after the SGM in 2016, resigned after half a year partly. So a old-new committee started after the AGM in the end of 2016. The intentions of this committee where:
- to be grateful to the people still involved
- make a big step forwards with the so called "move" to an european country
- intensifyed communication with the community
First: Before the committee could start with this points, it had not only to find threee Australian committee members to avoid that the OFT winds up CAcert Inc., as these three seats where temporarely not occupied. Furthermore, the committee learnt only hours before Christmas, that the public officer will get retired at the end of the year (that means about one week later). By courtesy, he accepted to write his report to the New South Welsh Government on April, 1st in 2017 only, so the committee had three month time to compleate the committee and replace the PO. Understandably, this two tasks where more priorised as the three intentions.
Second: It seamed to the committee, that the community was not very active in this time - at least the committee did not hear a lot of it. On the other hand, some did committee's work, often hours before the committee finished it. So several times, members of the committee wrote information or statements, just to learn before sending it, that someone else sent the same information just a few hours before. So it did not make sense to send it a second time.
As well, it disencourage, when some people ask, that the committee says thank you several people for their work and criticise the way the committee did it in every case, the committee did something in this direction. Considering this two points and the pressing time concerning the Australian tasks, the committee concentrated on the Australian ones. Instead of a meeting per month, it held one per week. One or two times, the committee was alone without participants on the floor or only spectators. Then, it took about two hours for a meeting. In the other cases, with a lot of interjections, objections, comments, etc. from the floor, it took the double of the mentioned time. In short: preparing the meeting, the meeting itself, postprocessing of the meeting was often five to six hours a week without any minute work done for CAcert. Without any exaggeration, it can be said, that in the three first month of 2017, the four euro-american members of the committee did a 20% job just to avoid that CAcert Inc. will be winded up. This was to much time - to much, as all this people have a 100% job to earn their live, a family and other obligations, f.eg. in another association or a public authority.
As there where no answers from Australian Inc. members, the committee contacted the Australian assurers. More than a dozen gave a positive answer on the first contact. Until the election, there where three remaining.
When CAcert Inc. was saved, just minutes before the very last dead line (really deadly dead line), it was just the beginning of Easter. At this moment, the secretary said to him self: no CAcert during the Easter days. If it is Holy mass or egg hunt with the children in the garden or a visit from relatives - all this without CAcert. Instead to restart the activities in a normal way at least at May 1st, he waited for a sign from the three others "old" members of the committee, but it seams, that all where to happy to have every day one day more "without CAcert" to recover from the marathon they did before. During this time, there was only one person that asked in a qualified way about what happens (or what not).
In between, the secretary did some small attempts to contact them, but with no answer. So it invited the complete committee to a first meeting together. As it is very difficult to find a time frame that fits to Eastern Australia, Central Europe and Western America and also to avoid long and fruitless meetings. The committee agreed on this first meeting to a new way of work together. Most task will be done in small (bilateral) ad hoc groups. The results will be presented on the board-public-list and voted with a 7-days-vote. If there are more than one possibility, they will present on board-public two possibilities and give arguments for one of them. Later it will be discussed at the meeting and voted (3-day-vote). The goal is to have one-hour-meetings (and we will be happy if we arrive at <2 hours) once a month. All the people in the committe spend a lot of their free time, so it should be used as efficient as possible and not lost in non-productive meetings.
This (efficiency) is absolutely needed, as we have important tasks for the future:
- the "move" for CAcert Inc.
- review the financial base for CAcert Inc.
And if we have a look to the community with drasticly falling numbers of new members, new assurers, people involved in the project, are this not explicitly tasks of the committee, but it is probably the only institutionalised organ that has an eye on it.(Ru)
Board members have to take care of Audit reports to be published.
Board members have to fill vacant officer positions with valuable CAcert community members.